Friday, July 18, 2014

The Desire Streetcar - Original Oil Painting

The old "Desire Streetcar " line in New Orleans became immortalized when the playwright Tennessee Williams published his steamy play,"A Streetcar Named Desire," in 1947.  The line ran in the 1920's through the 40's.  It originated in the neighborhood of Bywater and ran through the Marigny neighborhood and the French Quarter towards Canal Street. 

There is a plan to bring this streetcar back to the French Quarter, which seems like the perfect New Orleans' answer to "Life Imitating Art."

I used a very old black & white photograph of the Desire Streetcar running down Bourbon Street as an inspiration for this painting.  (Most people remember that it ran down Royal Street, but it also ran down parts of Bourbon Street too.)

To see more of my New Orleans art, please visit

Friday, April 11, 2014

"Rain on St. Peter Street"

On our last trip, in early March, I experienced the true magic of New Orleans. We were out very early in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras Day. It was maybe 60 degrees and, Oh It Was Raining!  But after a few minutes, we didn't even notice.  Everyone was out, tourists and locals all calling out "Happy Mardi Gras!".  And all the greetings were truly warm, in the spirit of friendship; and it was too early in the day to be that kind of "spirits."  It was a day I will carry in my heart always.

To see more of my New Orleans Art, please visit

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"Frenchmen Street" - Original Oil Painting

We fist discovered Frenchmen Street in February of 2006 (the Winter after Hurricane Katrina).  At that unfortunate time, the French Quarter was still pretty deserted, and someone told us to take a short walk into the neighborhood of Marigny if we wanted to hear some good local music.
Our spirits were uplifted the minuted we arrived at the small three block business district!  The street was a little dark; but lights, music and laughter spilled out onto the sidewalk from crowded small clubs.  That night we became fans of Cafe Negril, Snug Harbor, The Spotted Cat, and DBA, where the music ranged from jazz, to reggae to funk.
Since that time, Frenchmen street is the place we go to the most, and now we're acquainted with Adolfo's Italian Creole restaurant (above the Apple Barrel) and the atmospheric Frenchmen Hotel with its cozy, lush courtyard and balcony views.  And, we've added new music clubs like the Blue Nile, and Maison to our list of favorites.  We go back time after time to see our favorite musicians, KermitRuffins and the TBC Brass Band.  I still can't get over the fact that you can hear some of the country's best music in such small intimate clubs! 
Frenchmen Street is a real everyday street with a grocery, a book store, a fire station, a record store, and a coffee shop, but it's also a concentrated spot of local culture will soon hit its prime.  I just hope it doesn't lose its friendly neighborhood feeling where visitors can go and experience the real New Orleans.
To see more of my original New Orleans art visit:


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Old Absinthe House - New Orleans

    The story of this old bar on a Bourbon Street corner is synonymous with the rich, colorful, and sometimes notorious history of the French Quarter.  One can almost feel its shady past oozing out from the rough stucco walls. 
     Starting out as an import house in 1806, it is purported to have been the location where the pirate Jean La Fitte and General Andrew Jackson hatched their plans for the 1812 Battle of New Orleans.  Later in 1815, it became a rough a tumble saloon called Aleix's Coffee House."  Then in 1874 it was the site of the invention of the strong liqueur, Absinthe.  The reputation of this drink was so infamous that it was outlawed in the United States as a drink that could lead to insanity and the ruination of all who drank it.
     Today, after careful renovation, much remains original, and it's a great step back in time to enter, look up at the old beams and sit by the the ancient fireplace with your favorite drink in hand, and drift back through time.   
To see more of my New Orleans art visit-

Monday, February 18, 2013

Endymion Float - Mardi Gras Painting

     A couple of weeks ago my husband and I experienced Mardi Gras family style, in the New Orleans' neighborhood of Uptown.  This was not the raucous reveling on Bourbon Street, this was the tree-line residential streets lined with mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, aunts and uncles, all there to enjoy the beautiful floats, the jazzy marching bands and to take part in tradition.
     I must admit that I am not usually a fan of parades, but the floats were absolutely breathtaking!  They were illumined against a twilight sky by hundreds of lights and by kerosene torch bearers called the "flambeaux," a custom that goes back to the very beginnings of Mardi Gras.  Everyone in the crowd was there to see a child in a band or a relative on a float, and to catch trinkets and beads which flew through the air.....all very small town in feeling, all very friendly.  Total strangers gave me theirs fanciest beads because I was not very good at catching them myself. 
     It doesn't matter that many of the stories behind all the complicated and somewhat baffling traditions may have been forgotten, what matters is that this is a time when everyone joins together in a spirit of community.
     This painting, "Endymion," was commissioned last year by Scott Colomb, a member of the (Krewe of Endymion) who taught me more about about the culture of New Orleans.
To see more of my New Orleans art visit:


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dream of New Orleans - Oil Painting

For some of us, we dream of New Orleans, when we are not there.  What is it about New Orleans which captures the hearts and imaginations of so many?  It is a city where we can walk among the ghosts of those earliest settlers who carved a unique culture out of an often treacherous swamp.  It is a place where despite the hardships of epidemics, fires, and floods, its people have endured and triumphed down through the centuries.  It is a modern urban center; but it is also a mystical, ethereal dream carried on a breeze, drifting out over the evening, casting a spell over those who are willing to believe.
To see more of my New Orleans art visit:

Friday, July 13, 2012

New Orleans' Uptown Neighborhood

     New Orleans has many neighborhoods, Garden District, French Quarter, Marigny; but one of the most welcoming and inviting is "Uptown."  Here a diverse collection of architectural styles abound.  They are home to those New Orleans inhabitants who lovingly care for their late Victorian charmers.  Every pillar, bow window, and wrought iron railing is preserved.  Many sustained extensive damage during Katrina, but the owners worked hard and brought them back to their original Southern grace.

     These are homes to families, not the super rich who drop by occasionally.  If to spend a couple of delightful hours, take a stroll through this neighborhood some late Sunday afternoon.  You will be thoroughly entertained!

    This painting, "Uptown Tonight" was commissioned by the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Richmond Virginia.

     To see more of my New Orleans art, or to commission a painting, visit:
     To purchase a print of this painting click on the image above.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sunrise in the French Quarter

It's been about a month since our last trip to New Orleans, but I can still remember how beautiful the early morning is in the French Quarter.  I was standing on the balcony of our hotel on Chartres Street looking towards Esplanade Avenue, and the sun was just coming up.  All of a sudden the buildings at the end of the street took on an incredible glow.  There were soft pinks and yellows and wonderful shades of purples and lavenders.  It only lasted for a few minutes, but I grabbed my camera and got a few shots.  As soon as we got back to Illinois, I got out my paints and tried to get the scene down on canvas.  
I love all the excitement and glitter of New Orleans, but this quiet and tranquil scene of the old Vieux Carre' is one that I will always remember.  This fleeting moment in time was another facet of this complicated and truly alive city called New Orleans. 
This large original oil painting was recently sold at Kako Gallery on Royal Street in the French Quarter.
To see more of my New Orleans art visit: 
Special orders welcomed!

Monday, March 5, 2012

City Park in New Orleans - Original Painting

The Live Oaks in New Orleans' City Park are a sight to behold!  Their large twisted branches, covered with Spanish Moss, spread out over the old Metairie Bayou, offering a deep and tranquil shade.  Many of these ancient oaks are over 600 years old.  They are called "live" because their branches are never bare; dropping leaves are replaced by new leaves almost at the same time.  To walk among these ancient giants is an awe inspiring experience!  To learn more about City Park visit:
For more about my original art, visit:

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Blue Nile - New Orleans

To spend time at the "Blue Nile" club on Frenchmen Street is to experience real New Orleans music!  Local musicians (who also enjoy worldwide fame) deliver the best in jazz, funk, blues, R&B and more.  In true New Orleans fashion, it is an interactive experience.  The crowd and the band party together in an intimate space which is loaded with atmosphere. 

A friend mentioned that the building was built in 1832, and the inside has the appearance of a 1930's jazz club with masonary arches and a delicate hand-painted border of marine life around the ceiling.   All this is left untouched; but more recently an artist has added a huge expressive mural which covers one whole wall.  It is these layers, built up over time, which make this place so interesting.

I painted this painting last summer after our Spring trip to New Orleans.  It was recently sold at the Kako Gallery in New Orleans, and is currently displayed on the Blue Nile's website.   While it is not a portrait of Sam Williams of "Big Sam's Funky Nation," who often appears at the Blue Nile; he was the inspiration for the trombone player.

A print of this painting is available at:

To see more of my New Orleans art, visit:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Harry's Corner - Original Oil Painting

When you take an evening stroll down New Orleans' Chartres Street, you are instantly transported back to a time of flickering gas lanterns, doors shuttered for the night, and the sound of a carriage clattering down narrow streets. You walk past mysterious darkened carriage ways with enormous iron gates. You may hear water dripping from the lush vines which hang from the balconies overhead, or the hushed whispers of lovers as they hurry past you on the slate covered sidewalk. But, this is not a dream or a Hollywood sound stage. This is the year 2012 in the French Quarter, where people live and work amidst the layers of New Orleans' history. And, Harry's Corner Bar takes its place in this historic neighborhood. It is immersed in the hazy memories of the past which seem to seep from every old brick wall, from every heavy wooden door. Harry's is a vibrant neighborhood gathering place, but it is also a part of the intricate weaving of the fabric of the French Quarter; where the past and the present merge in perfect, beautiful harmony.
This large, original oil was commissioned by a patron in Louisiana.
To see more of my work or to order an original,

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homes of New Orleans

An expression of joy, a statement of individuality, these are the homes of New Orleans, which can be found in all the old neighborhoods. 

The humble 19th Century shotgun house, long and narrow, will often soar to spectacular design heights.  Some of these frame dwellings will run the gamut with elaborate Victorian mill work, stained glass windows, or 2nd story additions.  Usually, they will all be painted in a wide range of colors.  And, in the glorious New Orleans light, a street full of color is a beautiful sight to see.    

The early 20th Century bungalow style of home is not to be out-done!  They boast massive square or round porch columns.  (Columns are not just for mansions, you know.)  And, often their foundations are raised, some raised a whole story, with elaborate steps and ground floor entrances.  Bright Caribbean colors are often the choice, and stained glass windows can also be found.

The homes in neighborhoods like Bywater, Marigny and Treme reflect the personality of New Orleans, colorful, proud, and individualistic. 

This painting, entitled "Moon Over New Orleans" is for sale at Kako Gallery in the French Quarter.  For information on purchasing please contact me.  SOLD

For more about my New Orleans art visit:

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Orleans Courtyard

There is nothing like your first glimpse into a courtyard in the French Quarter.  It is quiet, secluded, and mysterious.  The street sounds disappear, and you are transported back into a time before the Civil War.  A time when the French Quarter, or Vieux Carre', was the center of New Orleans .... no tall hotels, concrete highways, or Superdome.  It was a time when prosperous Creole families (those families whose ancestors were the original settlers) lived in the rows of elegant townhouses which are preserved to this day.  Hidden from the street and behind these townhouses, were the courtyards which were much different then.  These were the places where tall cisterns caught the rain water, chickens were raised and butchered, soap was made, and laundry was washed and hung up to dry.  Today they are filled with fountains, beautiful flowers, and tropical plants; but if you are quiet and listen, you can almost hear those ghosts of the past.  SOLD
To see more of my art, visit:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bourbon Street Dazzle Art by Diane Millsap

One can't deny the energy, light and sound of Bourbon Street!  It is just one of the many faces of New Orleans.  It's where you go on your very first trip to the Big Easy, to experience the enthusiasm and joy of living for which New Orleans is renowned.

Bourbon Street is a street of contrasts.  Centuries old buildings with iron balconies and brightly painted shutters glow in a jumble of bright neon signs.  Open old wooden doors emit the sounds of not only Jazz, but Rock, Funk and R&B music. 

Bourbon Street is where you want to be when you when you want to celebrate the exuberance of life.  There is laughter, camaraderie, and just a hint of real danger lurking around the edges in the shadows, so be a little bit wary; it's  a little bit like the real world distilled and condensed into 12 city blocks.  
This original oil painting was commissioned by Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Arlington Virginia.  It is available as a giclee print from
To see more of New Orleans art, visit:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fat Tuesday, the New Orleans cat, is Dancing on YouTube

Just out at My illustrations for a new book ~~
Fat Tuesday,  is a fun loving, dumpster-dining, plump lady cat who lives in the French Quarter. 
She loves to dance, but she is searching for more in life.....

Story by Todd-Michael St. Pierre
Illustrations by Diane Millsap 
To see this book on, go to:
To view more of my New Orleans art, visit: